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Ministry of Hajj and Umrah – New Umrah Restrictions and Regulations in Ramadan 2021

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Saudi Arabia’s General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and Prophet’s Mosque has announced Ramadan protocols for Umrah performers and worshippers during the month of Ramadan.

The authority stressed its readiness to welcome worshipers with strict Covid-19 precautions and safety measures applied in both mosques to ensure the highest safety and security for Allah’s guests. Social distancing, masks, and sterilization are mandatory.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has also launched a new update for Eatmarna and Tawakulna Apps in cooperation with the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority, to facilitate the issuance of permits and prayer reservations during the blessed month of Ramadan.

Al-Haramain Protocols During Ramadan

As for Al Mataf, it will only be used for circumambulation with the first three lanes closer to Al Ka’aba allocated for the elderly and people with disabilities. 

The Grand Mosque will also be cleaned and sterilized up to 10 times a day. Approximately 5,000 workers will carry out disinfection operations around the clock, including the daily sterilization of the carpets after every prayer. While Zamzam water coolers will not be available, up to 200,000 bottles of Zamzam water will be provided on a daily basis. Iftar meals will be provided for those who wish to break their fast at the Grand Mosque or at the Prophet’s Mosque. However, visitors will only be permitted to bring water and dates for personal consumption. No sharing or distribution of food and water will be allowed.

Meanwhile, Al-Haramain train resumed its operations between Makkah and Madinah after two years of suspension. Social distancing, masks, and assigned passenger seats are applied with only 200 passengers per trip.

As for tarawih prayers, it will be restricted to only 10 Raka’at with a maximum duration of 30 mins. However, no children will be allowed into mosques nor the courtyards around them, no Iftar Sofras nor Itekaf will be allowed in either mosque. Only authorized vehicles are allowed to enter the central region around Makkah and performers should arrive on time not to lose their time slot.

The capacity of the Grand Mosque will be raised in order to accommodate 50,000 vaccinated Umrah pilgrims and 100,000 worshipers.

Umrah and Prayers Permits During Ramadan 

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced that pilgrims would be granted a permit to perform Umrah only one time during the holy month of Ramadan. However, worshipers can obtain the permit for the performance of all the five obligatory prayers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah on a daily basis throughout the holy month. The worshippers will be issued permits for five prayers including Taraweeh prayers for one day at a time.

The ministry stated that since the beginning of the month of Ramadan permits to perform Umrah and prayers in the Grand Mosque and to visit the Prophet’s Mosque will be granted to the vaccinated persons, according to what is shown on Tawakulna App for vaccination categories;  A vaccinated person who received two doses of the Coronavirus vaccine or a vaccinated person who spent 14 days after He received the first dose of the vaccine, or a vaccinated person recovering from the infection.

Permits can be issued from Eatmarna App, Tawakulna App, and from the hotels surrounding Al Haram Al Makki. 

Entry Requirements for pilgrims coming from outside Saudi Arabia

The Ministry clarified the mechanisms and procedures that must be followed by pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom to perform Umrah.

The Ministry indicated that the pilgrim should go to Enaya Center in Makkah 6 hours before performing his Umrah, to check the status of immunization according to the type of the approved vaccines.

The pilgrim will then be given a wristband, which shouldn’t be taken off at any time during his stay at the center. Upon reaching the gathering center, the pilgrim should present his wristband to verify his data and his permit status. Pilgrims should commit to their assigned duration for Umrah performance. 

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